Advertising Agencies Finally Begin to Embrace DRTV

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When it comes to working with the country's top advertising agencies, the bottom line is: the bottom line. These people play for keeps. They know their stuff, and the results of their efforts on behalf of their clients prove it.


Advertising agency executives are a rare breed. They are all business and they are all creative. Most importantly, they rely on facts and are not prone to accepting anything at face value.


We in DRTV knew that to convince advertising agencies of the merits of our industry, we had to show them: no hard sell, just hard results. Proving your case takes time, especially to a level of marketing professionals who are under intense pressure to succeed. There is no room for anything else.


Under this climate, DRTV producers simply had to focus on achieving results. When I began my career as a DRTV producer, the business was heavily made up of entrepreneurs hoping to generate short-term cash. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but let's face it, advertising agencies are not going to get wowed by these campaigns.


A few years ago, things started to change within the DRTV industry - and ad agencies took notice. Production values in DRTV started to increase. Many DRTV programs began pulling impressive household ratings. Production budgets kept increasing, and, most significantly, Fortune 500 companies started using the DRTV long-form format to introduce their products.


All of a sudden, DRTV producers had something of substance to share with advertising agencies. But there was one development that truly defined the importance of DRTV for the ad agency: the coming of age of Internet e-commerce.


E-commerce showed leading brand owners that it was possible to create image and close the sale on a one-on-one basis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Internet changed the rules to such a degree that accountability became the No. 1 mantra for advertisers. Nurturing the brand with image advertising is still vital, but advertisers want to know who their customers are (list generation) and want to encourage the online sale (call to action).


This is the turf of the DRTV producer. We know how to create relationships with target consumers. We know how to capture their attention and get them to make the call.


Thanks largely to the influence of advertising agencies, DRTV producers have truly gotten their act together. Productions are glossier, the messages are sharper and the calls to action are more sophisticated. We are building brands through DRTV that carry over into eventual retail success. DRTV has become an accepted and proven format for major corporations - even the U.S. Navy.


Most of all, advertising agencies have opened their doors to the DRTV producer. We are joining forces to tackle the branding needs of dot-com clients, who, by their very nature, require a direct marketing approach. We are joining forces to develop convergence marketing, blending the unique powers of mass media and virtual media.


Together, we are introducing direct response television as an integral component within the marketing mix of the leading brands of today and the emerging brands of tomorrow.
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